WB doesn’t need a plan, it needs to stop trying so hard

Promo poster for the 2017 Justice League.

Image: Warner Bros.

The word ‘plan’ in relation to the film industry, especially when it comes to: IP blockbusters, is a dirty word at the moment. Executives have used it so many times that not only has it lost all meaning, it can also actively kill the excitement you might have for an upcoming movie because it’s basically advertising that something in that movie is going to take way too much time. to set up a franchise that only exists in the mind of someone who wants to keep their job for years to come.

But here’s Warner Bros reusing the word “plan”, again related to customization DC Comics to film. During his investor call earlier this week, WB Discovery CEO David Zaslav said the company has built a team that will craft a 10-year plan for DC. The goal is to finally give DC its own Kevin Feige, or rather, its own Kevin Feige that the company will give really trust in for longer than two and a half films. This is partly why batgirl was cannedAccording to Zaslav: It didn’t fit the plan, and since WB is now in the business of protecting the DC brand, that implies a reset that depends entirely on an upcoming movie that main actor has become such a PR nightmare, it would be wise for WB to just drop the thing on HBO Max and call it a mulligan.

Leslie Grace as Batgirl in a promotional photo of the now-cancelled film.

Image: Warner Bros.

There have been plenty of so-called movie universes that have publicly failed you’d think studios would stop trying to chase Marvel’s success at this point diminishing returns. It’s especially damning for Warner Bros., of all companies, to try this shtick again: even if you don’t want to talk about Zack Snyder’s divisiveness at DC, the company is clearly not suited for the long-term game. They weren’t back in 2011 when Ryan Reynolds wore that Green Lantern suit, and they weren’t in 2017 when they decided to come in Joss Whedon and tried to straighten the ship and only served to emphasize how out of their depth they were with their superheroes. Currently, Warner Bros. bullied away so much goodwill that they failed an insultingly easy drug test.

Know what Warner Bros. is good at the short term game. After Justice League 2017, the fractured nature of the DC Extended Universe became a blessing and made the films just stand alone affairs. Aquaman, Shazam, and Harley Quinn were all great in their own different ways, freeing their respective directors to worry about how the movies aligned with everything else and just have some fun. If Marvel movies all feel like they’re largely by the same man, post-2017 DC movies, for better or for worse, have felt uniquely individualistic. Joke all you want, it’s easy to see how Nolan’s Batman is different from Snyder’s Batman and Matt Reeves’ new Batman earlier this year.

Image for article titled Warner Bros.'  DC Comics problem is Warner Bros.  yourself

Image: Warner Bros.

It’s the human element of DC movies where Warner Bros. focus on over the next ten years. Damn cinematic universes, fuck plans with a hypothetical endgame in mind, none of that is interesting anymore. If we’re doomed to be stuck in this IP-heavy blockbuster era, at least let it be a playground for directors and writers to do what they do best. You would think that WB’s plan now would be to learn and internalize such a simple concept.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest miracle and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on Film and TVand everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

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